Quick hits

No advantage

Microsoft brought new hope to the software piracy wars with Windows Genuine Advantage 1.0, but it didn’t take long for hackers to strike back with cracks to bypass the software validation engine. Less then 24 hours after Microsoft released Genuine Advantage (see story, page 1), posts appeared on Internet message boards like Boing Boing with cracks and codes to bypass the program and let users download updates without validating their software. The cracks exploit a part of the software that allows users to download multiple updates in a session while only validating once. Microsoft Canada’s senior product manager for Windows Client, Elliot Katz, said Microsoft was aware of the vulnerability, but called it a necessary trade-off for a more user-friendly experience. Katz added the weak point poses no security vulnerability for users. “We’re further investigating the claims now and will take action in response as appropriate,” said Katz.

Hall inductees

One hopes Alexander Graham Bell will be watching from above with pride on October 17 as eight inaugural inductees are ushered into Canada’s new Telecommunications Hall of Fame in Toronto. Canada’s sparse population and vast distances have long fueled innovation in the field of telecommunications and the hall is designed to honour Canadians who have made a significant contribution to the industry, as well as make more people aware of Canada’s telecommunications legacy. “There are few industries in Canada, or even the world, with so many unsung heroes and little-known success stories,” said Lorne Abugov, a founder of the hall and senior telecommunications partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. Eight people will be inducted into the hall in the categories of Inventors and Innovators, Icons of Business, Servants of the Public and Advocates and Academics. There ceremony will be part of the Telemanagement Live 2005 Conference and Trade Show.

Flyin’ high

Boeing and Intel Corp. have teamed-up to promote sky-high Wi-Fi to airlines and executive jet operators around the world. The companies successfully completed compatibility testing of Connexion with Intel Centrino-based laptops through Intel’s Wireless Verification Program, which works with wireless providers to find and solve quality of service, site coverage and downtime issues. Connexion allows airlines to create high-speed, wireless Internet hotspots onboard their aircraft, meaning no more fumbling with cables and adaptors to connect to the corporate VPN, check your e-mail or learn about the latest NHL free agent signings. Although currently not being used by a Canadian airline or on flights by other airlines to Canada, Conexxion is offered on select flights by six airlines, including Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines and Japan Airlines, with five more on the way. Pricing ranges from US$29.95 for long haul flights over six hours to US$9.95 for one hour of access.

Making a transition

Disneyland probably needn’t worry, but NCR Corp. is hoping that TransitionWorks, its new radio frequency identification (RFID) demonstration centre opening in September in Atlanta, will become a popular destination for those who want to learn the ABCs of RFID. With similar centres in the works for Europe and Asia, TransitionWorks will showcase NCR’s full range of RFID products, including a global consulting service, handheld scanners and data warehouse management programs. “TransitionWorks will focus on developing new concepts and solutions, as well as providing an opportunity for NCR’s clients and partners to learn about the possibilities, best practices and pitfalls associated with RFID,” said John Greaves, NCR’s vice-president for RFID solutions. RFID is being used as an alternative to barcodes.

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